Thursday, December 18, 2008

How Busy Do We Get?

We went to First Baptist of Jackson's "Carols by Candlelight," the 39th presentation. I personally am so grateful for at least one church having traditional Christmas music. what's so unpopular about "Silent Night?" We also went to our own churches concert which was modern. I could appreciate their energy and effort, but I love the songs I hear, that I know by heart. I still cry when I hear a beautiful performance of "Oh Holy Night." These are the real colors.

I have been baking. Baking cookies and almond tarts. I think I may have developed the perfect chocolate "rum" ball. I combined my recipe with Noble Pigs Zinfandel Port balls. I added the unsweetened cocoa to my recipe that calls for melted chocolate (just scroll down the recipe is posted) I used the port, and added more than the 1/2 cup just a little at a time to get the right consistency which is a lot like pie crust. It needs to be moldable but not so wet that it's sticky and gooey. My hands stayed clean while I rolled the little balls. These are the BEST I have ever made. The Port has a berry flavor that is mild and mixes so delightfully with the chocolate. I never thought I would give up my bourbon. But this really is perfect, and Cathy P. It would be very cool if you'll give it a try. I'd like to know what you think.

The almond tart that I shared last time is a huge hit. If you like Danish pastry. It may be the easiest and best recipe I EVER share! Seriously it tastes like it's full of marzipan. My aunt thought I bought it, she couldn't believe that I made it. They are so easy to make, totally fool proof. The secret is real almond extract and real butter. With all the parties and cookie exchanges I was looking for something fast and easy. I found a recipe for English Toffee cookies they are easy to make, and turned out awesome, they are crispy, nutty, and do have a toffee flavor. Even better 1 batch makes 6 dozen.


First introduced in 1960, by "Kitchen Cabinet," they are very reminiscent of crunchy toffee candy but are cookies. You just spread the dough in a shallow pan to cook and cut into pieces. Come on CBW this one is for you!

1 cup butter (use real butter)
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk- save the white for brushing
cream this until very fluffy.
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups all purpose flour (I always use unbleached high quality flour, Gold Medal is not the best)
blend dough well. Spread into well greased baking sheet with an edge. Brush the dough with the beaten egg white and cover with the finely chopped nuts. Gently pat the nuts into the dough with the palms of your hands.
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Bake at 275 for one hour, mine were done at 45mins. I go by smell. My nose knows, when something is finished. Cut the cookies while warm let cool and then remove from pan. Mine stuck. Maybe a sheet of parchment would be good, or I let them cool too long. We got them out but it was tricky. My family went crazy over these. Sometimes less is more!
I used unsalted butter and it didn't taste right so I added salt. Just using salted butter would work just right.

For the grand finale of this post I thought I would share with you what Piglet's room looks like, lest you think too highly of my "clean house." I do live with teenagers. She has been making an effort lately to keep up but this is how she likes it. The kid works almost 20 hours a week and goes to college, so she gets a bit of slack. Her first report card she got 3 B's and 2 A's.

Unbelievably to me she got a B in English because her teacher disagreed with her point of view regarding God. Piglet is very forthcoming in her beliefs and shared her point of view in her work. Actually the assignment was to write about something you felt passionate about. It made me mad. When you teach you should be able to judge a work by it's structure and style, not downgrade it when you disagree. Grrrrr. Piglet however did not want her Nannie marching down to the school, to give the teacher the what too, and where for.
Is freedom of speech only for those who ARE NOT Christians? Can you tell this made me a bit hot?

In the spirit of Christmas and forbearance, we will honor Piglet's wishes and accept the B, which is still a good grade. English would've been an easy A for her, she writes well. Without further ado, the pictures, ta da!!



Laura ~Peach~ said...

cookies and treats look yummy!!!!!! my bootie can not deal with many more sweet treats however... love the bed room marthas is actually pretty clean its MINE that looks like a tornado came through!

Angela said...

I'm so happy to read about Piglet's reports..that is just awesome! That baking sounds and looked so yummy. I am hoping to get some more baking done this weekend, maybe tomorrow, definitely Saturday. I'm running low. Notest that my cookies were getting less and less. Hubby has been sneaking them out of the cold room (back entrance,lol). Stinker!! I too get teary eyed over Holy Night. That church was light up so beautifully, oh my! I LOVE your new banner again girl. My goodness...Hey, got your letter..Randy says, 'whose that?"
"My friend" ((hugs))

Debbie in CA : ) said...

I've got my thumb back! Hooray!! I won't be kneading bread for a few days (or weeks -- ouch), but these recipes look like a definite YES on the baking list. YUMMY! [Thumb hurts ... gotta stop now.] : D

Chris H said...

Thank you so much for the lovely Christmas Card, I recieved it yesterday. I thought about sending out cards to everyone who sent me a birthday card.. but upon reflecting on the cost of sending out over 100 cards including postage... I didn't! Cheapskate I know! Anyway, I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas sweetie.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

The lights in that first picture are absolutely incredible. I can just hear the hymns now. If that doesn't put you in the Christmas spirit, I don't know what will!

I greatly admire the ease with whicy you have way more skills than I do!

Karen Deborah said...

CBW you can do this it's EASY PEASY!!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

we got a card from you today too THANK YOU! it is beautiful martha said it is all hers LOL

as for mother... When I decided two years ago to become her guardian /conservator unfortunately I also became her voice and so it is my job to talk to the drs for her and make the decisions on her care and everything to do with her... I do hire a lawyer up there to assist me and he is worth every penny that he costs... actually the omepazole is working wonderfully....

Martha Jean says ... why is your teens room so messy? her room does not look like that... bad bad martha jean LOL. she thought it is a boys room :O

Grandma Tillie's Bakery said...

I am going to try your tart recipe out for the holidays--just not sure which one. We have so much going on and wouldn't you know it I have 2 last minute orders that I couldn't say no to because the people they will be delivered to are the kind of people I want for customers! I am also making the cake for my SIL surprise birthday party for 40 people and we have a dinner party here on the 23rd. THEN I can start cooking for our Christmas. Whew!

Her room doesn't look messy per se, it just looks like my kitchen when I am incredibly busy. Great job on the good grades!

Karen said...

I can't believe that she was graded on content and not form. That's wrong!

Oh - and Micah got a fun package in the mail. :) He loves it.

Anonymous said...

Piglet's room looks fit for company compared to my daughter's room. I'm not certain if there is still carpet on her floor....

Anonymous said...

I love this post! And I love Piglet's room! LOL! Looks like Double Shot's!

I just started baking. Oooh La La.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you totally on loving traditional Christmas music! Our church is usually much more "modern", but thankfully the Christmas Eve service was traditional and lovely. Merry Christmas!